In a much buzzed-about primary contest, residents of the 21st City Council District in Queens chose to send to City Hall a local lawmaker over a disgraced state senator with a criminal record.
Assemblyman Francisco Moya, an assemblyman representing Corona and parts of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst since 2010, won Tuesday’s Democratic primary for the Council seat with 55.6 percent of the vote, or 3,480 votes. His opponent, former state Senator Hiram Monserrate, received 2,782 votes.
Supporters gathered at Tony’s Pizza in Corona to celebrate Moya’s win in the race to replace outgoing Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. The room was also packed with elected officials including Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; Council members Daniel Dromm, Jimmy Van Bramer, Karen Koslowitz and Donovan Richards; and Congressman Joe Crowley, who also chairs the Queens County Democratic Party.
“I want to thank the great people of the 21st Councilmanic District, the people of LeFrak City, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Corona,” he said. “All of you welcomed me with open arms and in my many conversations with so many of you in these past three months I’ve learned so much about the direction that our community needs to take.”
Moya received key endorsements from Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Crowley and a number of unions.
Crowley said Moya’s victory was a win for the entire borough.
“What a great victory for Francisco but for Queens County,” he said. “We’re sending a message that Queens County elected officials are not about lining their own pockets but about lining the communities of which they live in and delivering for those communities. Integrity and honesty matters in public service.”
In the heavily Democratic district, Moya is all but assured a victory in the November general election. He would, of course, resign his Assembly seat upon taking the City Council office in January.
As for Monserrate — who never let his past prevent him from seeking office — the future is unclear.
Monserrate served in the state Senate before being kicked out in 2010 after being convicted on a misdemeanor assault charge for slashing his girlfriend’s face with a glass bottle. He tried to get back into the state Senate in a special election but lost to then-Assemblyman Jose Peralta. Monserrate then ran for Peralta’s former Assembly seat and lost to Moya.
He was later sentenced to two years in jail for misusing about $100,000 in city funds to pay for his 2006 Senate campaign. Nevertheless, he re-emerged on the political scene last year and ran for Democratic District Leader, a race that he lost by just 57 votes.
Monserrate also accused Moya of lying about where he lives. Though the assemblyman owns a Long Island City condo, he said he lives with his parents at their home in Corona to take care of his father, who has Parkinson’s disease.
“My father, my mother my brother Edgar, we endured a tough campaign one that made it very difficult,” he said. “It was a nasty campaign, but you know what? My parents raised me right. We ran a clean campaign that talked about real issues that affected people of this community.”
Monserrate garnered support from LeFrak City residents upset that their polling place had been removed and Bertha Lewis of The Black Institute. In the end, the support wasn’t enough.
At a building on Astoria Boulevard in East Elmhurst, Monserrate had gathered his supporters in anticipation of a victory. But according to DNAinfo, after the results came in, he ran from reporters; a group of volunteers who said they hadn’t been paid for their service also crowded around the building.
QNS reached out to Monserrate’s campaign for comment and is awaiting a response.